Note: The following is a short work of fiction, which describes actual events and conversations of real people. If you ask, "Why fiction?," Eleanor Roosevelt aptly explains--
THE COURT OF FUTURE CRIMES: MELISSA KEASTER VS. THE HEALER
I wipe clammy palms on my navy dress slacks, and will the moisture to return to my mouth. It's no use.
Nerves are abusive little tyrants. They scatter well-studied, organized thoughts. They steal breath from the lungs and imprison the voice. At least I don't have to sing. Breathe. Just breathe.
Black fuzzballs reel across my vision. Am I crazy for doing this? I feel
The jury walks in and sits. I sense scrutinizing eyes at my back. Yes, I'm crazy. And they'll know it soon enough.
The Judge walks in, shrouded in black robes, features all obscured. A shiver trickles from my scalp to my knees. I can't see his eyes. His manner is entirely ambivalent.
"All rise! The Court of Future Crimes is now in session. His Imminence is presiding. Be seated."
In a non-committal tone, The Judge says, "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of Melissa Keaster versus The Healer. Are both sides ready?"
"Ready, Your Honor." My words come out paper thin as I look into his eyes, wide-open voids of impenetrable darkness.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, 'I AM.'" The Healer's words steady me. I cast my eyes in His direction, and catch His reassuring smile.
I can do this. Even if they think I'm nuts, I can
The jurors are sworn in. I look at whoever will look back steady in the eyes, praying they stand by their word to fairly try the case, to return a true verdict based on the evidence. So help them, God.
It's time for the opening statements. Oh God, help me remember everything. Help me to say it well.
The Healer mouths from across the too-wide gap between us--"Be brave."
I clear my throat, take a deep breath, and face them. "Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: the defendant has been charged with the future crime of divine physical healing of the plaintiff, Melissa Keaster, which is to say--me."
A murmur rustles through the jurors, punctuated by skeptical grunts.
"The evidence will show this healing is foretold by several witnesses through prophetic words and dreams, and is affirmed in the defendant's own written testimony. The evidence will also show no other source can be responsible for this healing."
The Healer stands, and I see Him smile out of the corner of my eye. Pleasure rushes into my chest, washing away the fear. I long to be closer to Him, close enough to touch those love-scarred hands.
"Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: the skeptics in this room will presume Me innocent until proven guilty. During this trial, they will doubt the evidence provided against Me. I desire you all to know the truth for the truth will set you free: I AM WHO I AM; I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I WILL HAVE COMPASSION. I require neither permission nor understanding to do what I will, not even from the plaintiff."
He turns fully to me now and grins wide. I return His smile, adoration radiating from my face.
"She's got a thing for him from the looks of it," says an old man juror from behind me. I turn and wink. He raises his bushy salt and pepper eyebrows, and purses his lips. I suppress a chuckle.
"The prosecution may call its first witness." The Judge's hollow voice pounds at me like a blunt force instrument.
"I call upon myself."
"Yourself," he repeats incredulously.
"Yes," I say with more assurance than I feel, and climb the stand.
I swear in, state my name, and lick my lips to no avail. My mouth is still too dry.
The jury appears curious. That's good.
"The following is a journal entry in which I explain my feelings regarding a then undiagnosed illness. On October 8, 2012, I wrote: 'I have every reason to believe that I may not make it out of this illness alive, yet the Lord keeps speaking to my soul--'I am willing to make you well.' I believe with all my heart that He will do it. I don't know when or how far down the rabbit hole I must travel, but I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief!'"
Tears leap into my eyes, unbidden. "Your Honor, I would like to have this journal marked as exhibit number one, and ask it be admitted into evidence."
"Does the defense have any objection?" The Judge peers down his nose at The Healer.
He shakes His head. "None at all, Your Honor."
"The journal entry will be admitted as exhibit number one."
Exhibit #1: Journal Entry from 10/8/2012
I continue. "And on October 28, 2012, referencing Mark 1 from The Holy Bible
, I wrote: "....A leper came to Jesus, asking Him to heal him, and said, 'If you are willing, you can make me well.' And Jesus replied with a touch, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' When I read those words....I felt the Lord saying, 'I am willing,' words to which I have held fiercely close to my heart as I have worsened and face[d] many dangerous crises in the past few weeks. However, I also felt the Lord impress upon my heart that my healing was not to be a simple touch, but a long, difficult process. 'Hard work' was the phrase He whispered. I am living in this long season of hard work, already exhausted, already depleted, depending moment by moment upon my Savior for the grace and power required for the task at hand. Only because of Christ can I do this. Without Him, this is beyond me. And I am so happy to have His promise that I will live...even on days that I don't want to. As I re-read Mark 1, the Lord gave me a new word from verses 29-31. When Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, He took her by the hand, lifted her up, and she was well--'and she served them.' When the Lord heals me, I am not going to be allowed long to catch my breath. The Spirit use[d] those words to impress upon me that my season of illness will not be followed by a welcome and hoped for season of rest, but a season of service which will likely simultaneously try and fill my soul. I tremble with nervous excitement at this word...."
The second journal entry is made exhibit number two.
Exhibit #2: Journal Entry from 10/28/12
"On the nights of October 8th and 9th, 2013, two different people who do not know one another had dreams about me, dreams in which I was apparently healed. We will hear from them in a moment. Sometime between October 10, 2013 and September 24, 2014, I forgot both the dreams and my own belief I would be healed.
The reason for this, I believe, is two-fold: On May 27, 2014, I was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Disease at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There is no cure for Mast Cell Activation Disease, and it can be progressive. The disease also causes other incurable, autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia, IBS, and hypothyroidism, all from which I suffer. Moreover, the high risk of anaphylaxsis poses a formidable threat to average life expectancy.
Such a diagnosis is able to erase all hope of healing, but diagnosis isn't the only reason the impressions and dreams were forgotten. During the summer of 2014, in spending copious amounts of time with the defendant, I--the plaintiff--became so happy I no longer cared whether or not I would be physically healed. I rejoiced in the healings of others with only brief twinges of wist when I considered the absence of my own.
For months, I've managed my disease very well with a combination of excellent diet, detox routines, acupressure treatments, rest, stress management, medication, essential oils, and positive thoughts. Things are going well though symptoms are still prevalent and sometimes severe. Even if I continue in my efforts faithfully for years, I don't believe they can achieve full healing for me.
On Sunday, September 21, 2014, I told two people I didn't think the defendant would heal me. I believed He had other plans.
On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, Melissa Rogers, a friend of uncanny similarities to myself, who I met through very unlikely circumstances and who had just experienced a miracle of her own, shared with me a prophetic word: '[The Healer] loves you; He has healed you.'
I prayed sincerely over these words in order to discern their meaning and veracity. I was met with assurance from multiple sources outside of myself that I'd indeed be physically healed in addition to the spiritual and emotional healing which has already taken place. Only then did I remember the former impressions, words, and dreams, and I fully believe the defendant is guilty of the future healing of my body!"
By the end of this speech, I am standing. A fire smolders in my bones. Whispers swirl all about the room.
The Judge's gavel slams into the block. "Order in the courtroom!"
I stare at The Healer, breathless. His eyes are fiercely proud.
"Does the defense have any questions?"
The Healer stands. "Do you trust me, Melissa?"
"Yes," I say.
"Why?" His voice is so gentle, I could fluff it like a pillow and rest my head there.
"Because you loved me when I was unlovable. When I hated you, you died to save my life."
"And is it not I who holds your very breath in my hands and owns all your ways?"
"Do I not have a right to allow pain in your life?"
"Do I not have a right to send healing now? Even if you can no longer imagine a life without disease?"
"Yes." The word chokes on a muted sob.
I'm excused. The Healer extends a handkerchief to me as I pass Him on the way back to my seat.
I call Lyndsey Floyd Mouk to the stand. Lyndsey is a friend from college, a friend I haven't seen much of since
college. She shares her dream from October 8, 2013--"[Melissa] was somewhere with a bunch of people and [was] holding and smelling a wildflower."
Mary Fran Stark, a friend several years my senior who I haven't seen since childhood, shares the dream she had the night of October 9, 2013: "I don't remember what [the dream] was about, but there were several people at your house and lots of kids."
I take the stand again.
"It should be noted," I say to the jury, "I strictly avoid crowds to prevent acute episodes in my illness, and I would never purposefully smell any flower due to the risk of mast cell degranulation. Thus, images of me standing in the midst of crowds and sniffing flowers indicates wellness. It should also be noted Lyndsey and Mary Fran do not know one another, and neither knew of the other's dream. Lyndsey shared her dream first through private message on Facebook. Mary Fran shared her dream the following day via status 'comment' on Facebook."
The Healer listens quietly through it all. His eyes twinkle as Melissa Rogers takes the stand.
Melissa shares pieces of our conversation, which took place on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, between the hours of 10:53a.m. and 12:22p.m. There are many details, but one central message: "He has healed you."
The Healer touches Melissa as she passes Him on her way out of the courtroom. Joy wells in my heart as I consider the vastness of His love. He loves each of us as if we're the only one in the universe, and He loves us both. She and I are both 'His Melissa.'
With a contented sigh, I call an expert witness.
I ask him, "How do you explain the present perfect tense of the declaration, 'He has healed you?' I currently suffer from symptoms."
Even now, there's a migraine lodged behind my right eye.
The man adjusts his horn-rimmed glasses excitedly, and explains, "Present and present perfect tenses are both commonly used in biblical prophecy. We find an example of present perfect tense in Isaiah 9:2--'The people who walked in darkness have seen
a great light.' Scholars agree this prophecy refers to the birth of Jesus Christ, which occurred 700 years after
the prophecy was written. We find explanation for this phenomenon in Psalm 119:89--'Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven,' meaning when God makes a promise, it's as good as done. Yahweh operates outside of time and space. He can do this because He created
time and space. He is God. He sees the end from the beginning, and has ordered all things from the outset."
The Judge pulls and tucks his robes as if worried his skin is showing. I bow my head to hide my smirk, and sense The Healer's full-out grin.
Finally, the stand holds The Healer himself. He gives a brief testimony before I question Him. "All things work together for good to those who love Me, to those who are called according to My purpose."
My cells respond to the truth of His word.
I approach the stand and wonder--how many times have we reasoned together like this, staring into the face of the other, reveling in soul secrets and silent communication?
"Will you please tell the court who you are?"
My knees tend to buckle at this answer no matter how many times I hear it. One of the jurors experiences a similar effect, and falls out of her seat.
"What is your occupation?"
That smile again. The light of it shines so brilliantly the intimidation of The Judge is utterly forgotten. "Love. Life. Freedom. Peace. Abundance. Joy. Glory."
"Where do you reside?"
"Everywhere. I dwell between galaxies, and know motivations hidden from your own consciousness."
"What do you know of the human body?"
"Everything," He laughs. "I designed it."
"Will you please share with the court some of your well-known experiences with healing?"
He shrugs. "Sure--the leper in Galilee--the one you mentioned in your journal entry, actually. The centurion's servant. The blind man in Jerusalem. Jairus' daughter. The woman with the bleeding issue--the one you relate to so well
"Are you experienced in healing incurable diseases?"
"I heal everything from terminal cancer to explosive tempers, from lost causes to wandering souls."
I bring an open Bible to the stand. "Is this your written testimony?"
Exhibit #3: Isaiah 58:6-9
"Would you say my illness has been 'a fast of your choosing?'"
"Have you been hungry and shared your bread? Have you shown castaways hospitality of soul? Have you clothed the naked, prayed the bound go free and the wicked be saved?"
The Judge checks The Healer. "The witness will not question the prosecution." But the reprimand is lost on our ears.
I swallow hard. We look into one another so intensely we forget where we are and what we're doing. We forget the world.
I answer Him with the look. The answer is for Him only. The jury need not know.
The Judge suspiciously forgets the original question, and doesn't bring it up again. Neither do I.
"No further questions, Your Honor."
An unknown voice sounds at the back of the room. "Are you sure?"
When The Judge does nothing to resume order, I turn. A man dressed in a perfectly tailored suit with shiny Berluti shoes and slicked-back hair slinks near the door. I don't recognize his face, but there's a familiar quality to his movement.
"Yes. Why?" I ask him
," he replies, eyes gleaming.
I turn again to The Judge with an unspoken plea. He stares back insipidly, waiting for the scene to unfold.
The stranger sidles closer, and the scent of overly-sweet cologne wafts in my direction, cloying my senses. I choke and gasp and know--I have smelled his foul odor before.
"You won't ask for a sign? You won't ask the age-old question?" His lips curl up in a Cheshire cat grin. The effect is unnerving. I hold back a shudder and narrow my eyes in defiance.
"Come on--you know
you want to ask," he hisses, inspecting his perfectly manicured hands.
My stomach turns, and I bristle. "If you are referring to The
Question, I've already asked. Many times over. As for a sign, it would be ungenerous to ask for more than He's already given."
Sinister eyes swing sharp to meet mine. The man speaks slowly. "The jury might appreciate the answer, Melissa. Don't you hear it in their sighs? Why? Why? Why?"
Silence falls. The Judge and jury lean forward, chairs creaking, pressing me to ask.
There's no problem with The Question when honestly presented, but it isn't relevant to the case. I bite my lip. Accusation and curiosity burns in the jury's eyes, I see it. The Healer does, too.
The well-dressed man grips my arm. I attempt to pull away without success, and cry out. The atmosphere shifts at once. The Healer's eyes flash fire, and I'm suddenly released.
I know what comes. I brace myself.
The Healer stands to full height and thunders, "Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge? Where were you
when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding--who determined its measurements? Surely you
know! Have you
commanded the morning since your days began? The dawn knows its place. Do you?"
Everyone cowers in their chairs, hiding from the whirlwind. At once, I long to kiss the floor with my brow and stand so close to the rush I feel my stomach drop.
I've heard His answer before, of course. One isn't desperately ill for more than two years without asking The
And this is the way He always answers--with questions of His
own. Questions which plumb the depths of the soul and expose all its
secrets. They wrecked me, His questions. I'll never forget how they bashed me to pieces, repaired me, and set me to sail again on the feral ocean of divine sovereignty.
The once bitter waters are now impossibly sweet. I've learned to love His scary side.
The well-dressed man retreats. Even The Judge shows signs of life--or rather, surrender--as he squirms in his seat. The hall is silent again.
The Healer still stands, chest heaving and nostrils flared. His zeal is beautiful to me.
Eager to move the case along, The Judge clears his throat and addresses the jury. "Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution must convince you of three things in order to find the defendant guilty of the future crime of divine physical healing: First, that the defendant has confirmed through His own testimony and the witness of others He will indeed heal Melissa Keaster of Mast Cell Activation Disease. Second, that the disease cannot be healed by any means short of a divine miracle. Third, that He indeed has the power to heal incurable disease."
The jury nods their understanding, but few are convinced. Caution emanates from their furrowed brows.
"Are you ready with final arguments?" The Judge asks.
, I think.
But The Healer stands next to me now, holding my hand. Sensing my fear, He kisses my ear and whispers, "Those who wait for Me are never
My words are tremulous and thick with tears. "Yes, Your Honor."
I face the jury once more. Believe with me.
I exhale hard. "Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury: The Judge has told you I must convince you of three points. The truth is...I can't."
Their dubious faces almost make me lose my nerve. I spur myself on--for them! For Him!
"We're dealing with the supernatural here, which means we're dealing with faith. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, but these are things not yet seen. I lack rock hard evidence. I have nothing to offer you beyond the testimonies you heard today," I tell them, extending my empty hands and earnest eyes.
"My sincerest desire is for you to believe--not only in a miracle that hasn't yet taken place, but a Person--a Person wise enough to send a debilitating illness into my life, a Person powerful enough to take it away, and a Person good enough to stand with me through it all."
Pointing to The Judge, I continue, "Only he can verify or falsify prophetic claims, and he cares little how these proceedings turn out. I pray you
care--not only for me but for yourselves! Have we become so jaded we no longer believe in miracles? I tell you--they happen every day for anyone with seeing eyes."
My gaze drifts over each face, and I know--they definitely
think I'm crazy. And so I am.
"Please don't miss this." Tears cascade down my face, and for a moment, I cannot speak. The room waits on bated breath in order to hear what the crazy lady will say next.
Suddenly, the fire reignites my bones. The tears fall still, but my energies crescendo. "Go on, find Him guilty. Find Him guilty, and sentence Him to the exaltation and glory He deserves. Sentence Him to your own belief--to your own salvation. In sickness and in health, in death and in life, He is worthy to receive blessing and honor and glory and power forever!"
has a thing for him," comes the loud observation from the old man juror who spoke before. "And you know what? I think the feeling's mutual."
The Healer says nothing in closing. He just kisses my forehead, and lets me dry my tears on His chest.
I wait trembling in His arms for The Judge to prove or disprove His crime. I'm afraid I look like a fool before them all. I'm afraid my soul will doubt if The Judge tarries. He sits so serene, so enigmatic without any concern at all for me.
he holds the power now, but I know better. I know the One whom I have believed--The Beginning and The End. The arms that hold me are everlasting. Right or wrong, they'll never let me go.
I plant a kiss upon His shoulder as I wonder--what will the jury decide?